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LINGUIST List 21.2564

Fri Jun 11 2010

Diss: Applied Ling: Björkman: 'Spoken Lingua Franca English at a ...'

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        1.    Beyza Björkman, Spoken Lingua Franca English at a Swedish Technical University: An investigation of form and communicative effectiveness

Message 1: Spoken Lingua Franca English at a Swedish Technical University: An investigation of form and communicative effectiveness
Date: 09-Jun-2010
From: Beyza Björkman <beyza.bjorkmanenglish.su.se>
Subject: Spoken Lingua Franca English at a Swedish Technical University: An investigation of form and communicative effectiveness
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Institution: Stockholm University
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Beyza Björkman

Dissertation Title: Spoken Lingua Franca English at a Swedish Technical University: An investigation of form and communicative effectiveness

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Philip Shaw

Dissertation Abstract:

As a part of the process of globalization, an increasing number of higher
education institutions are adopting English as the medium of instruction
for parts of their education. Within most universities in continental
Europe, there are English as a lingua franca (ELF) settings where English
is spoken by users of a wide spectrum of first languages for various
purposes, be it for academic activity or social interaction. This is
clearly the case for Sweden, where higher education has become increasingly
international and thus linguistically diverse, for educational, idealistic
and financial reasons.

This study reports the findings of a project that investigated the form and
pragmatics of spoken lingua franca English in Swedish higher education. The
group in focus is exclusively engineering students and lecturers in content
courses. The results are based on authentic data from high-stakes spoken
communication.

The study comprises two dimensions, namely form and communicativeness. In
the form dimension, the material was checked extensively for non-standard
morphosyntactic features. In the second dimension, communicativeness was
investigated. The emphasis was then put on the discourse level for further
examination, and the material was checked intensively for pragmatic
strategies. Finally, a survey was carried out to investigate perceived
communicativeness and attitudes towards morphosyntactic non-standardness.

The results indicate that communication takes place without much overt
disturbance in this lingua franca setting with the exception of
non-standard question formulation. Pragmatically, these speakers use a
variety of strategies to negotiate and clarify meaning, such as commenting
on discourse structure, signaling importance etc. Finally, the results of
the survey show some irritation towards non-standardness. From these
results, the notion of effectiveness in ELF settings emerges as being
determined primarily by pragmatic ability and less by proficiency.



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